Anti-Radiation Missiles - Technical data and discussion

The developers have confirmed that they are looking into adding Anti-Radiation Missiles (ARMs) to War Thunder; but have doubts about their accuracy and whether they could target the SPAA we have in game. I’ve created this topic to collect information about the various anti-radiation missiles that could be added, and to generally discuss how ARMs could work in game.

In real life some ARMs could only lock on to a fairly narrow range of radar frequencies. Personally I expect that if Gaijin implement ARMs, they will allow them to lock onto specific radar bands, rather than specific frequency ranges. I feel this would strike a good balance between realism (you still need to use the right type of ARM for the radar you are going up against) and fun (you don’t need to remember the exact frequency of every radar in the game, just what band they are). This also gets around the problem that the exact frequencies radars transmit on, and ARMs are tuned to, is often classified or otherwise unknown (the band is usually known though).

There are two main standards for radar band designations: IEEE and NATO. Here is a good diagram showing radar the two band designation systems. War Thunder uses currently uses the NATO radar band designations for in game radars, so to avoid confusion all radar bands in this post will use the NATO names.

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Source: Radartutorial

One of the key factors that will impact how ARMs perform in game is which SPAA they are able to lock on to. In order to visualise this I have created a spreadsheet showing every SPAA radar in the game and which Anti-radiation missiles are able to lock on to them. At the moment the list of ARMs is far from complete, as I have only found data on some western ARMs. If anyone has information about ARMs not on this spreadsheet (or detailed in the section below) please share it here and I will try to keep the spreadsheet and post up to date.

Click here to view the ARM vs SPAA Spreadsheet


I would also like this thread to have easily readable information about all the ARMs that could be added, much like the other missile threads that exist on this forum. I have started off with the ARMs I have information for. If anyone wants to contribute missiles or information to this then post a comment in this thread and I will add your information to the post (with credit).

AGM-45 Shrike

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Summary

The AGM-45 Shrike is an American anti-radiation missile. Being the first ARM deployed by the US it had very limited performance, with early versions requiring different seekers to be fitted before launch depending on the type of radar being engaged. Later versions had more capable seekers, covering multiple radar bands. There were two main versions of the Shrike, the AGM-45A and AGM-45B which featured a better rocket motor which significantly increased it’s maximum range. Each of these missiles had many sub versions which had different seekers for targeting different radars.

Tech specs (AGM-45A)

  • Length: 3.05 m (10 ft)
  • Finspan: 91.4 cm (36 in)
  • Diameter: 20.3 cm (8 in)
  • Weight: 177 kg (390 lb)
  • Speed (AGM-45A): Mach 1.75 above launch speed
  • Speed (AGM-45B): Mach 0.9 above launch speed
  • Propulsion (AGM-45A): Mk 39 or Mk 53 Solid rocket motor
    • 2.8 second burn time
  • Propulsion (AGM-45B): Mk 78 boost-sustain rocket motor
    • 7,200 lb thrust for 1 second
    • 550 lb thrust for 20 seconds
  • Warhead: Blast fragmentation
  • Seeker:
    • AGM-45A/B-1: E, F Band
    • AGM-45A/B-2: G Band
    • AGM-45A/B-3: E, F Band
    • AGM-45A/B-4:G Band
    • AGM-45A/B-6: I Band (7.9 - 9.6 GHz)
    • AGM-45A/B-7: E, F Band
    • AGM-45A/B-9: I Band
    • AGM-45A/B-10: E, F, G, H, I
  • Maximum launch range (AGM-45A): 12-16 km
  • Maximum launch range (AGM-45B): 45 km

Pictures

Click me AGM-45 missile diagram:

An AGM-45 shrike mounted on a Harrier GR.3:

A Vulcan B.2 carrying AGM-45 missiles:

Sources

AGM-78 Standard ARM

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Summary

The AGM-78 Standard ARM is an American anti-radiation missile, which utilised the airframe of the RIM-66 Standard Surface to Air Missile. The initial version, the AGM-78A, utilised the seeker from the AGM-45A-3 while later versions (AGM-78B, C, and D) utilised a purpose built broadband seeker. As well as having much better range than the Shrike the AGM-78 featured a memory chip which stored the target’s location and allowed it to guide to that location should the enemy radar be shut down.

Tech specs

  • Length: 4.57 m (15 ft)
  • Finspan: 108.0 cm (42.5 in)
  • Diameter: 34.3 cm (13.5 in)
  • Weight: 620 kg (1,370 lb)
  • Speed: Mach 2.5
  • Propulsion (AGM-78A / B / C): Aerojet MK 27 MOD 4 boost-sustain solid rocket motor
  • Propulsion (AGM-78D): Aerojet MK 69 MOD 0 boost-sustain solid rocket motor
  • Warhead: 223 lb Blast fragmentation
  • Seeker:
    • AGM-78A: E, F Band
    • AGM-78B / C / D: Unknown broadband seeker
  • Maximum launch range: 90 km

Pictures

Click me An AGM-78 next to an F-105:

Sources

AGM-88 HARM

Coming Soon

ALARM

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Summary

The ALARM (Air Launched Anti-Radiation Missile) is a British anti-radiation missile. The most unique feature of the ALARM is the two stage parachute integrated into the tail of the missile. If the target radar shuts down then the ALARM could deploy it’s parachute and “loiter” in the air for up to two minutes. Once the target began emitting again the ALARM could jettison it’s parachute, and strike the target, even if the target had moved from it’s original location. This made the ALARM very effective at striking mobile anti-aircraft systems.

What happens after ALARM is launched depends on what mode the missile is in. The first three modes require the target location to be known before launch, while the last two do not. However even in first three modes the target’s only needs to be known within 1 nautical mile radius (meaning in War Thunder you would just need to know which side of the map the enemy SPAA is located in).

  • Dual mode: The missile enters a steep climb after launch and attempts to acquire the target. If the target is found it attacks immediately otherwise it will loiter.
  • Loiter mode: The missile enters a steep climb after launch and loiters above the target location, only once loitering does it begin it’s search for the target.
  • Direct Mode: The missile flies a path optimised for maximum ground speed. It will look for a target near the specified location and if one is not found strike the specified location.
  • Corridor Suppression Mode: The missile climbs to altitude and follows a pre-determined flight path scanning for any radars which match it’s list of targets. If such a radar is found it attacks the target.
  • Universal Mode: Same as Corridor Suppression Mode, but optimised for high altitude launch, giving greater range.

The Corridor Suppression and universal modes can attack targets within a 20 nautical mile by 46 nautical mile area in front of the aircraft.

Tech specs

  • Length: 4.3 m
  • Finspan: 72 cm
  • Diameter: 22.4 cm
  • Weight: 260 kg
  • Speed: Supersonic
  • Propulsion: Boost-sustain rocket motor
    • Boost motor burns for 0.7 seconds
    • Sustain motor burns for 52 seconds
  • Warhead: Annular blast fragmentation warhead producing 3,000 6mm tungsten fragments
  • AR Seeker: Covers 2.0 - 18.0 GHz (NATO Bands E, F, G, H , I, J)
  • Maximum launch range: 50 nautical miles (93 km)

Used by

  • Tornado GR.1 / 4
  • Tornado F.3 (A small number modified to do so, nicknamed “EF.3”)
  • Harrier GR.7 (trials only)
  • Jaguar (trials only)
  • Eurofighter Development Aircraft (trials only)
  • Nimrod MRA.4 (planned)

Pictures

Click me ALARM missile diagram:

An ALARM missile being carried by a Tornado GR.4:

A Harrier GR.7 carrying two ALARM missiles:

A Eurofighter Development Aircraft carrying two ALARM missiles (among other weapons):

Sources

Martel AR / TV

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Summary

The Martel (Missile, Anti-Radar and Television) was an Anglo-French air-to-ground missile, which as the name suggests came in both Anti-Radiation (AR) and Television (TV) guided versions. The AR missile was designated AS.37, and the TV missile AJ 168.

The AR missile was locked onto an enemy radar before launch (the seeker could detect targets up to 200 nautical miles away at altitude, or 30 nautical miles at see level). The missile was typically fired from an altitude of 200 ft at a range of 17 nautical miles (although could be fired at altitudes up to 36,000 ft). If fired under these conditions the missile would climb to about 15,500 ft then entered a steep dive as it approached the target. The warhead would be detonated either on impact or by a proximity fuse.

Tech specs (AR Version)

  • Length: 4.14 m
  • Finspan: 120 cm
  • Diameter: 40 cm
  • Weight: 535 kg
  • Speed: High subsonic (TV version apparently cruised somewhere around 480 kts)
  • Propulsion: Separate boost and sustain rocket motors
    • Boost motors burns for 2.5 seconds
    • Sustain motor burns for 92 seconds
  • Warhead: High explosive blast warhead containing 119 kg (262 lb) of RDX/TNT (55/45)
    * Impact and proximity fuse
  • Seeker:
    • Maximum range: 200 nm at altitude / 30 nm at sea level
    • Coverage (different seeker heads):
      • Band 1: E, F Band (2.7 - 3.7 GHz)
      • Band 2: C, D Band (0.8 - 1.3 GHz)
      • Band 3: I Band (8.4 - 10.0 GHz)
  • Maximum launch range: 17 nautical miles (31.5 km) at sea level. Some reports indicate up to 32 nautical miles (60 km) when fired from altitude (AR version only).

Used by

  • Buccaneer S.2B / S.2D (AR & TV)
  • Nimrod MR.1 / MR.2 (AR & TV)
  • Vulcan B.2 (AR)
  • Sea Vixen FAW.1 XJ476 (AR & TV - trials only)
  • Victor B.2 (AR - trials only)
  • Harrier GR.1 (AR - trials only)
  • TSR.2 (AR & TV - planned)
  • Tornado GR.1 (AR & TV - listed in flight manual, unclear if it ever actually used them though)

Pictures

Click me Martel AR missile:

Martel TV missile:

A Buccaneer S.2B with one Martel AR missile, two Martel TV missiles, and a datalink pod.

Sources

  • Tactical Employment of the Martel Missile - CTTO Report
  • AP101B-1202-15C Buccaneer S.2B Aircrew Manual - Weapon System (Avionic Update)
  • AP3456H Royal Air Force Manual of Flying - Volume H: Aircraft Weapons Employment
  • Buccaneer Boys by Graham Pitchfork
  • Adventures of a Cold War Fast-Jet Navigator: The Buccaneer Years by David Herriot
  • The World’s Missile Systems - 7th edition by Pomona Division of General Dynamics Corporation

Version History

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  • V1 (19/08/2023): Initial version
9 Likes

Good topic!
Another missile that could be take into consideration will be the Marte MK2B (anty radiation variant of the Italian anty ship missiles Marte MK2). The problem about this one is the lack of info, but I’m doing some research

Spoiler

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Could be an interesting addition. But after the huge SPAA missile nerf it is maybe not that important for balance anymore. Now any plane can safely engage SPAA without too much issues. Also at top tier (where those missile are going to sit) the majority of SPAA have access to IRST (correct me if im wrong, but the IRST should not be able to guide those missile ?) Anyway if those are ever implemented it would be really nice to have new weaponry.

It depends on the system in question as they may use datalinks to send / receive information for some types of guidance.

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I’m already hunger to these bad boys.

2 Likes

Can’t wait to see SPAA mains cope about Anti Radiation Missiles if it ever gets introduced.

honestly, countering them shouldn’t be hard. Just move every once in a while and don’t leave your search radar on constantly.

Correct, IRST is a passive sensor and not detectable by an anti-radiation missile. However, the search radar on your SPAA will be enough, so SPAA players will have to bind the radar on/off button

Yeah and vehicles like the Stormer HVM will get a major buff, they don’t use a normal Radar but IRST so Anti Radiation Missiles wouldn’t really work against it at all.

There’s also the AGM-122 SIDEARM


Would be a pretty balanced early addition I think, since its just an AIM-9C but anti-radiation, so has limited range.

Spoiler

AGM-122 Sidearm - Wikipedia

With the current state of SPAA in ASB, a lot of which is “radar guided” then these are definetly needed.

Kh-25MP
IMG_8906
“The Kh-25MP missile with passive radar homing head (RGSN) is designed for high-precision destruction of radar controls of enemy air defense systems, including radars of anti-aircraft missile systems such as “Hawk", “Improved Hawk”, “Nike Hercules”.”

Kh-25MPU
IMG_8907
“To defeat the Roland-1 and Crotale air defense systems, the X-25MP missile was upgraded and received the X-25MPA index. The modernization consisted in expanding the frequency range of passive WGSN and in the use of an inertial guidance system that makes it possible to prolong the guidance and re-capture the target when the radar target radiation is temporarily turned off. The range has increased dramatically.”

Where’s the Russian ARH missiles at in the OP?

As far as wikipedia tells me, there is:

KH-28

Spoiler

(Kh-28 - Wikipedia)
image
The first soviet anti-radiation missile

KH-31

Spoiler

(Kh-31 - Wikipedia)
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Many different variants, anti-rad one has a range of 110km, and can ship with one of 3 different seekers for different radar bands

KH-54

Spoiler

(Kh-58 - Wikipedia)
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Older missile, chunky, many variants with massively varying range, modernised over time

R27P/EP

Spoiler

(R-27 (air-to-air missile) - Wikipedia)
image
Its the R27 you already know, now with a passive seeker! 72 and 110km ranges respectively.

And the KH-25s detailed above

Though I doubt we’d see any for a long time due to their relatively massive ranges. AGM-45(a) shrike and AGM-122 SIDEARM are both very close range missiles (no more than 16km it appears), and the firing aircraft would be susceptible to already-in-game SPAA

You got the two that I mentioned above, one has a maximum range of 10km.

ah, welp there ya go then

See this bit

If you have data on Soviet missiles that you want to share (particularly what radar bands they cover), then post it here.

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i doubt those exist

Pantsir players laugh in the background

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i stand corrected